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“Seek, test, treat and retain” for hepatitis C in the United States criminal justice system

Sarah Larney (Research Fellow, based at National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC), University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia)
Curt G. Beckwith (Associate Professor of Medicine, based at Division of Infectious Diseases and Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights, The Miriam Hospital, Providence, Rhode Island, USA)
Nickolas D. Zaller (Assistant Professor of Medicine, based at Division of Infectious Diseases and Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights, The Miriam Hospital, Providence, Rhode Island, USA)
Brian T. Montague (Assistant Professor of Medicine, based at Division of Infectious Diseases and Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights, The Miriam Hospital, Providence, Rhode Island, USA)
Josiah Rich (Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology, based at Division of Infectious Diseases and Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights, The Miriam Hospital/Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA)

International Journal of Prisoner Health

ISSN: 1744-9200

Article publication date: 9 September 2014

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to consider the potential benefits and challenges of applying a strategy of “seek, test, treat and retain” (STTR) to hepatitis C virus (HCV) in the US criminal justice system.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors draw on the published literature to illustrate how each component of STTR could be applied to HCV in the US criminal justice system, and describe challenges to the implementation of this strategy.

Findings

The burden of morbidity and mortality associated with chronic HCV infection in the USA is increasing and without significantly increased treatment uptake, will likely continue to do so for several decades. The authors argue that the US criminal justice system is an ideal focus for HCV case finding and treatment due to a high prevalence of infection and large volume of individuals in contact with this system. STTR would identify large numbers of HCV infections, leading to opportunities for secondary prevention and primary care. Important challenges to the implementation of STTR include treatment costs and training of prison medical providers.

Originality/value

This paper highlights opportunities to address HCV in the US criminal justice system.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Dr Sarah Larney is supported by an Early Career Fellowship from the Australian National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre. Dr Josiah Rich is supported by the National Institutes of Health Mid-career Investigator Award (NIDA K24DA022112). Preparation of this manuscript was facilitated by infrastructure and resources provided by the Lifespan/Tufts/Brown Center for AIDS Research (NIAID P30AI042853). The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at the University of New South Wales is supported by funding from the Australian Government under the Substance Misuse Prevention and Service Improvements Grants Fund.

Citation

Larney, S., G. Beckwith, C., D. Zaller, N., T. Montague, B. and Rich, J. (2014), "“Seek, test, treat and retain” for hepatitis C in the United States criminal justice system", International Journal of Prisoner Health, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 164-171. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPH-11-2013-0051

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited